Creeslough Honours Ben McFadden

For many years Ards native, Ben McFadden, toiled away quietly on a range of community endeavours for the betterment of Creeslough, but on one evening during the summer he was put centre stage for a change.

By Eamonn McFadden Photos by Moses Alcorn

He was presented with a special award for the many selfless hours he has voluntarily dedicated to helping his home area. Since the early 1980’s Ben has been volunteering his knowledge and expertise to a range of local causes and last Friday a presentation was made on behalf of the entire locality to say a big ‘Thank You’ to him for all he has done.
A small group held a socially-distanced gathering at the Corner of the Garden to surprise Ben with a special award for his years of voluntary work. It was presented by Margaret Roarty who said the award was in recognition of the huge contribution he has made to so many facets of local life.

She said: “On behalf of Creeslough and the entire community, I would like to thank you and acknowledge you for all the work you have done in improving and promoting our local area. You, believe it or not, are creating a platform to encourage development and ensure the prosperity of Creeslough. We know you greatly under value the work you have done but we wish to say that we really do value it. For many years you have been a powerhouse in this community through giving generously of your expertise as an organiser and a hands-on worker. Creeslough Community Association is one of the platforms, as is Tidy Towns, the Christmas lights, the Creeslough Festival, the guided history tours, folklore, fundraiser, musician, GAA and mummers. I am sure I have left many out – they have all benefited from your work. Your glass is always full. No matter what challenge comes along, Ben just gets on with it quietly. You get stuck in and have a very positive, can-do attitude at all times.”

She added his spirit of determination to keep working was an inspiration to everyone and the accolade being bestowed to him was richly deserved. He was then presented with his award by Margaret and another gift by Mairead McGinley. Ben said he was truly taken aback by the surprise award and added that all the work he has done was inspired by others who had done so much for the community in the past and he felt “it was only right that we try and carry that on”. Ben explained afterwards that it is the love of his home area that is the motivation to see it thrive for all generations.

He said: “It all started off with the Christmas lights back when Garda Martin Rochford first arrived here in 1980. From then on I just had such an interest in the town. I have great memories of being up here selling cattle for my uncles when I was at school. Really, it’s just that Creeslough is in my heart. I love this wee village and will carry it until the longest day I’m fit. Long may we continue to keep it in the nice shape it is in now. It is great to see all the new businesses starting up now. It is coming on great and it is encouraging people to come in start a business and we will carry on.” He said he would like to thank everyone for the award.

He also revealed that they are also busy preparing a new monument to be erected near the Owencarrow Viaduct in the next couple of months in memory of the people who died in the train tragedy in 1925. He said they have been working closely with the community in the area of the viaduct who have been very supportive of the monument idea and he thanked them for their support on this important historical project. Ben and his family are wished well for the future.